During freezing weather, 'pets are people, too'

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - State rescuers are making rounds to make sure animals are not left out in the freezing cold. For most animals, they said, it's a matter of life and death.

The dogs at Companion Animal Alliance may not have found their forever homes but they do have food, water, and a warm place to stay. Assistant Director, Paula Shaw said most animals can't survive in below 30 degree temperatures.

"Dogs with very short coats, it's just as if we're outside with no jacket on in freezing weather," Shaw said.

She said this is a time when the phrase, "pets are people too" should stick. It's one that's easy to remember but Beau Gast, the Chief Investigator for the Humane Society of Louisiana, said it is one even animal lovers often forget.

Gast said he and a team of investigators canvassed Louisiana and Mississippi on  Monday night responding to citizens concerned about pets being left outside.

"We went out to multiple areas across the state, actually made three separate trips to Baton Rouge on dogs out in the cold," Gast said.

Gast said most of them are pets whose owners simply did not realize how dangerous the frigid temperatures can be for animals.

"A lot of animal shelters, their ACO's (animal control operators) are going out on a lot of calls as well and bringing those animals into their shelters, and obviously if we run into a situation like that we're going to bring them in," Gast said.

If you must leave an animal outside, Shaw said, they will need more than a sweater. She suggests putting your pet in a small enclosed area and using hay as insulation. But, she emphasized, that should be a last resort.

"Really we want you to bring your animal inside. That's the bottom line," Shaw stressed.

If you see an animal wandering in the cold you can report it the Humane Society of Louisiana by calling (888) 648-6263.

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